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George Clooney to play David Boies in Los Angeles production of “8”

Prop 8

By Jacob Combs

AFER’s production of Dustin Lance Black’s “8,” the play based on the transcripts of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, was a huge success when it was performed in New York last September.  Fittingly, a second celebrity-filled production will play in California at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Ebell Theater on March 3, and that show now has its first confirmed casting, with George Clooney portraying the role of lawyer David Boies.

Clooney’s participation in the project was first reported back in December, but the specific part he would be playing was not announced.  Clooney has big shoes to fill–Boies was portrayed in New York by Morgan Freeman, and is quite the orator himself, as any of us who watched his powerful arguments during the December 8 Perry arguments at the Ninth Circuit know.

When it was first reported that Clooney would be taking part in the production, he said this to The Hollywood Reporter:

“It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens.  I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people — like all human beings — are born equal in dignity and rights.”

And no, lest you were hoping for it, Clooney will not be running for president anytime soon.

Update (Adam): Also just announced, Matt Boner and Matthews Morrison will play the role of two of the plaintiffs, Joe Katami and Jeff Zarillo.


  • 1. ed in lafayette  |  January 14, 2012 at 10:45 am


  • 2. Marta  |  January 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Does anybody know if they performances will be taped and if the performances will ever be made available for the rest of us on DVD?

    It seems like it might be a useful learning tool and fundraising opportunity.

    Plus, not all of us live in L.A. or N.Y.C. or have the money to travel. I understand that there are logistical issues with producing a DVD, and the playwright probably has some say in all of this…. but it does seem a little bit elitist to write a play, make a huge deal out of it, and then only show it in one city on each coast. Awesome idea to turn frustration and anger into art, but if only a thousand Americans out of 300 million ever get to see it – or see it at the time point when it's most politically relevant – honestly what's the point? Lance Black and George Clooney's personal catharsis?

  • 3. _BK_  |  January 15, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Okay, I'm sorry for asking this question, but I've got to know and can't seem to find the answer anywhere. When exactly do we expect the 9th circuit to release their decision(s) on Perry v. Brown? By the end of January? The end of February? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  • 4. AnonyGrl  |  January 15, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Making a DVD is difficult; it runs into a lot of financial and contract issues. It is a union issue, and rightfully so as sales of such a recording stand make a lot of money and the actors must be paid for their work.

    Most live theatre productions are NOT recorded, and that is often for the best. Theatre is meant to be a live, interactive with the audience experience, and works best when it is. There may be a strong case for translating this production into a movie format and that would be fine. In the meanwhile, local productions of the play may not have the star power, but will certainly have massive impact. Perhaps your local college theatre or community theatre will mount a production. Maybe there will be a national tour that comes through your area, too.

  • 5. Marta  |  January 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

    AnonyGrl – Thanks for replying to my comment. Your response does not entirely ease my concerns me for the following reasons:

    Based on the fact they are one-time productions and the way this play has been promoted I assumed that the actors were donating their time, and as such, payment for DVD sales seems like less of an issue (at least morally, I don't know how the union rules work). Plus, if the DVD was made for charity, any profits would be donated to HRC anyway, so it's not like someone else is making money at the actors' expense.

    You're right that watching filmed theatre can be an underwhelming experience compared to the real thing, but I still think it's better than nothing. And I've seen some very low-tech, theatre-style, black-box-few-props "movies" that pulled it off the theatre-as-film-thing very well. (I'm specifically thinking of one production of MacBeth.)

    Yes, perhaps I'll get to see it one day. Or perhaps not. Or perhaps I'll only get to see it 20 years from now when marriage equality is ubiquitous, and showing it to friends to get them energized about the movement means nothing politically.

    I guess it all depends on if LB decides to license it, and if a local theatre production near me decides to put it on. Maybe he'll publish it in book form like the Vagina Monologues. All I'm saying is… if he's trying to make art that reaches a lot of people and has a broad, meaningful impact on them, it's not evident. It seems more like he's trying to create a piece of art, which then is being used by rich people to entertain and raise money from other rich people. Which is his (or someone else's if he's not even involved) prerogative, but it's also mine to disagree with it and be frustrated by it.

    The "effort" excuse only goes so far: putting on a Broadway play and getting Morgan Freeman/George Clooney also takes a lot of effort and organization. They are not lacking in resources, they are _deciding_ how they want to use their resources.

  • 6. DaveP  |  January 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The best guesses seem to be 'end of January-ish'. But of course, nobody can be certain.

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